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'Amazon tax' goes into effect in Tennessee tomorrow

The State of Tennessee, which has one of the highest rates of sales tax in the Union, does not take enough of citizens' personal funds in a State where not even the purchase of food to survive is exempt from taxation, apparently does not tax the public purchasing power enough, as the State will now begin taxing citizens' online purchases from Amazon beginning tomorrow, January 1st. The passage of the legislation (SB 183) was part of the deal which brought an Amazon fulfillment center to the State after so-called small business lobbyists complained that Amazon enjoyed a competitive advantage since people who purchased from Amazon didn't have to pay sales tax, but people who purchased from so-called "brick-and-mortar" retailers did.

The law which requires Tennesseans to pay sales tax on purchases from the popular online purchase site goes into effect tomorrow.
Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

There is no word on whether so-called "brick-and-mortar" businesses which have a profitable online operation themselves also had a similar complaint and wish the State to give them relief. Will the State next attempt to force out-of-country retailers who ship to Tennessee to collect Tennessee taxes (some out-of-State retailers do, some don't)? The argument in favor of SB 183, now Tennessee Public Chapter 313, is that Amazon and other online retailers had a competitive advantage because they didn't have to collect sales taxes.

Amazon and other online retailers still have a competitive advantage over brick-and-mortar stores in that overhead costs are vastly reduced because many of the "middlemen" are eliminated in the purchasing process, reducing prices on many items. Will the NFIB and the Chamber of Commerce next beg the State for relief from the reality of increased digital purchasing power?

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